Needles, staples, tapes – which material to use for different wounds
Abrasions or superficial wounds require different wound dressings than bites or cuts. The following applies to every wound: Before applying a wound dressing, the wound must be cleansed and disinfected. Otherwise, it might get infected – which would impair wound healing massively. Then, the bleeding needs to be stopped. Which type of wound dressing is suitable depends on whether the wound is dry or moist. The selection of wound dressings available is vast. Modern wound care – for chronic wounds in general – create a moist wound environment to prevent the formation of scab and to encourage the wound to heal.
Different wound dressings are chosen for the different stages of wound healing. In order to initiate optimal wound care, an exudation management is conducted. The amount of exudate is analyzed and regulated. In medicine, wound fluid is referred to as ‘exudate’. In general, the exudation management process decides on infection treatment, the appropriate wound dressing and wound protection.
Plasters for wound management in the event of abrasions or superficial cuts
Depending on the results of the exudation management, further wound care management can be deduced. Of particular importance for all wounds is the use of sterile products. This way, infections which would affect the wound healing process negatively can be avoided. For wound closure, the wound edges are joined. This process is referred to as ‘adaptation’. The adaptation is held together by surgical tweezers.
In the event of simple abrasions or superficial wounds, it is sufficient to apply a plaster or a wound dressing, as long as the bleeding is moderate. Depending on the affected body part, it is advisable to cut the plaster into shape to enable better adhesion. There are different sizes of plasters and wound dressings for different sizes of wounds. The appropriate plaster should be chosen to make sure that the wounds are protected optimally. It is important that the wound pad of the plaster covers the margins of the wound by more than 1 cm. This way, the wound is prevented from suffering another trauma when the plaster is removed. The larger or deeper the wound, the more difficult it is to protect it with a plaster. In that case, other wound care measures must be taken to allow for proper wound healing.
Wound management in the event of deep or large wounds
There are several different wound care options for deeper wounds resulting from bites, cuts or surgeries. For the adaptation, the margins of deeper or larger wounds have traditionally been stitched together with a suture. Depending on the wound, local anesthesia or numbing cream is used. When the wound is treated with a needle, different sutures can be used. Some are absorbable, so they do not have to be removed afterwards. In modern medicine, wounds can also be closed with staples. With a specific device, stainless-steel staples are gently applied into the tissue. For this type of wound management, surgical staplers are used on the affected parts of the skin. The advantages of this closure method are quick handling and only mild scarring. After ten days, the staples can be removed with a specific device.
Apart from staples, tapes are another method of wound management that is often used. A special glue, such as TRUGLUE® tissue and skin adhesive, is applied onto the adapted margins of the wound in several layers, forming a strong bond. After the wound has healed, it peels off the skin by itself. Cuts and wounds with smooth wound margins can also be joined with a special strip like, for instance, the Sterigrap® wound closure strip by Trusetal.
In the case of using tapes as a measure of wound care, numbing is not necessary – this technique is quick and painless. Each type of wound closure is followed up by the application of an appropriate wound dressing to protect the wound and to support the healing process.